Semi-Trailer Market – Analysis & Overview

Semi-Trailer Market by Type (Flatbed, Lowboy, Dry Van, Refrigerated, Tankers and Others), Number of Axles (4 Axles), Tonnage (Below 25T, 25T-50T, 51T-100T, and Above 100T), Length, End-Use and Region

The global Semi-Trailer Market size is projected to grow from USD 29.5 billion in 2020 to USD 41.2 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 5.6%. 

 

Opportunity: Semi-trailer platooning

Semi-trailer platooning would transform the transportation industry significantly in the coming years. Semi-trailer platooning is connecting two or more semi-trailers in a convoy using connectivity technologies and driving support systems to establish a platoon of semi-trailers. The semi-trailer in the front acts as a leader and the other semi-trailers react and adapt to the changes by the leader semi-trailer. With the help of platooning, semi-trailers are driven closer together at a constant speed, which helps reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. If the leader semi-trailer’s collision avoidance system activates its brakes, the following semi-trailers will do the same. Recognizing the benefits, the vehicle industry and startups have been active in platooning to date, with the likes of Daimler, Volvo, MAN, and Scania deploying on-road prototypes. Right up until 2019, the appetite for platooning seemed strong following successful real-world trials with MAN in partnership with DB Schenker and Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Germany. This trial concluded that platooning is not only possible but safe and technically and easily applicable in the routine of a logistics company. Successful commercialization of truck platooning will also open the door for the development of semi-trailer platooning technologies. Semi-trailers are clunky monsters that have the worst wind resistance among the vehicle family. Innovations have resulted in a reduction of aerodynamics impact by adding various fuel-saving devices such as front faring, side skirting, and gap filling. This has helped cut down the aerodynamic drag up to around 26%. With semi-trailer platooning, the improvement of aerodynamics can go even further—a semi-trailer truck that follows the lead vehicle at the desired distance can consume up to 15% less fuel. With the development of autonomous vehicle technologies, semi-trailer trucks can be self-driven, which can create a fantastic opportunity for semi-trailer platooning in the future.

The key players considered in the analysis of the semi-trailer market are China International Marine Containers (China), Wabash National (US), Schmitz Cargobull AG (Germany), Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company (US), and Fahrzeugwerk Bernard Krone (Germany).

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The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which allows free trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico, would lead to increased fleet operations in the region. This is expected to create a push in freight transportation because of increased business activities and consumer spending. Wabash, Hyundai Translead, Great Dane, and Utility Trailer are the key players operating in the North American semi-trailer market. These players are focusing on collaborations to launch technologically advanced semi-trailers. For instance, in 2020, Wabash National, along with eNow and Carrier Transicold’s all-electric refrigeration technologies, signed a partnership that offers thermally efficient, eco-friendly refrigerated hauling. The large gain in thermal efficiencies allows the customer to downsize the batteries required to haul cargo and increase the runtime on a battery setup. The North American semi-trailer market is currently in its replacement cycle, with an ageing semi-trailer population that needs to be replaced with technologically advanced semi-trailers. As a result, the North American semi-trailer market is estimated to dominate the market, in terms of value, during the forecast period.

COVID-19 Impact on Semi-Trailer Market:

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the semi-trailer market. Both the production and sales of new semi-trailers came to a halt across the globe as the whole ecosystem got disrupted. OEMs had to wait until lockdowns were lifted to resume production, which affected their business. Post the pandemic, the demand for new semi-trailers is expected to show an increase as economies are recovering steadily. Nevertheless, another wave of COVID-19 due to newer strains may hamper the recovery in some countries. Subsequently, semi-trailer manufacturers would need to adjust the production volume based on the COVID-19 scenario across different countries. In addition, component manufacturing too was suspended, and small Tier II and Tier III manufacturers are facing face liquidity issues. Thus, production suspension during the outbreak and lower demand post the pandemic might have an unprecedented impact on semi-trailer providers.

Similar to most of the companies across different industry verticals, semi-trailer manufacturers suffered from the outbreak as well. For instance, Schmitz Cargobull, one of the prominent manufacturers of semi-trailers in Europe, witnessed a decrease of 27.4% for units produced in 2019-2020. The reduced hours of production have affected the overall production rate of the company, resulting in losses in that quarter. According to MarketsandMarkets analysis, the global production of semi-trailers in 2020 observed a 15.7% decline. Asia Pacific countries, such as China and India, which account for a large share of the global semi-trailer production, are estimated to have observed a decline of 5.6% and 15.4%, respectively, in 2020 as compared to 2019.

The semi-trailer market is also estimated to observe a decline post-COVID-19 due to the impact on end-use industries. However, a steady recovery post-2020 of the end-use industries will support the growth of this market in the coming years.

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North American market is projected to hold the largest share, in terms of value, by 2025

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which allows free trade between the US, Canada, and Mexico, would lead to increased fleet operations in the region. This is expected to create a push in freight transportation because of increased business activities and consumer spending. Wabash, Hyundai Translead, Great Dane, and Utility Trailer are the key players operating in the North American semi-trailer market. These players are focusing on collaborations to launch technologically advanced semi-trailers. For instance, in 2020, Wabash National, along with eNow and Carrier Transicold’s all-electric refrigeration technologies, signed a partnership that offers thermally efficient, ecofriendly refrigerated hauling. The large gain in thermal efficiencies allows the customer to downsize the batteries required to haul cargo and increase the runtime on a battery setup. The North American semi trailer market is currently in its replacement cycle, with an aging semi-trailer population that needs to be replaced with technologically advanced semi-trailers. As a result, the North American semi trailer market is estimated to dominate the market, in terms of value, during the forecast period.

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